Thursday, December 17, 2015

Seeing 'Star Wars' (no spoilers)

A long time ago, in a place far, far away, I saw the first Midwestern showing of the original Star Wars movie at a cinema long since torn down. I was 18. Today, nearly four decades later, I saw the latest version—don’t worry: I don’t do spoilers.

For quite awhile, Nigel and I were going back and forth about when to see the movie. We thought about going for the first showing, at 12:01am this morning, but, you know, a lot of things have changed over the past 38+ years, and one of them is that I really can’t stay up well past midnight and still function well the next day, unless, maybe, the next day is a weekend day.

So, we next thought about going to the 6am showing, but that’s a wee bit early: We’d have had to be on the road by like maybe 5am, and up far earlier. That wasn’t a really good idea, either.

So, instead, we chose the 5:10pm show, so I drove down to a park near the motorway so Nigel could exit, pick me up at the park, and then we could go on together. It made more sense than both of us driving up to Albany separately. We got there early.

We were so early, in fact, that we had to wait for a movie to end so they could “clean” the cinema and then let us in at 5pm. It seemed like a long time until the ads and previews started, but it probably wasn’t.

So, we watched the movie, and it was…

Nope, I said no spoilers so I won’t say a word except for this: At the start, words appear on screen and I briefly got teary. Then the Star Wars logo and opening theme, and I got teary again. It was from remembering that long ago time, and all the time since, including so many things best forgotten (like Episodes 1, 2, and 3?). I was ready.

After the movie, we went to a nearby McDonald’s for dinner. Our niece had told us about their “Create Your Taste” system, but we were reminded of it by an ad before the movie, and we decided to try it.

They had about six large touch screens set up at which a user selects what bun they want (or lettuce, no bun), what sort of meat, what sort of cheese, what sort of vegetables and other additions, and what sort of sauce. The customer can pay at the screen (credit card or EFTPOS), or pay at the counter. It was a bit of fun, and as fast as the old fashioned way of ordering, but with more options and personalisation. It did not, however, offer any of their standard burgers—it was premium burgers only.

I think I’d try it again, though probably not soon (Maccas is supposed to be a “sometimes” treat). I also MUCH prefer this system to the way places like Subway, Pita Pit, and Mexicali Fresh make customers tell an assembly person what they want. To me, that seems like an annoyance, but ordering via touchscreen wasn’t—it was fun.

So, we had a very nice time seeing the movie, only 17 hours after it opened in New Zealand (and still ahead of opening in the USA), and had a fun dinner, too. But tomorrow is another busy weekday, so I’m off to bed.

May the Force be with you.

Footnote: Because some will be curious, today $18.50 for the ticket is about US$12.50, £8.35, and AUS$17.34. We also have assigned seating at our cinemas, something I didn't like at first but now love because we can select our seats when we book and pay online. At the cinema, Nigel showed the barcode on his smartphone, they scanned it and printed our tickets (photo up top). And every single part of that is completely different than the way things were done back in 1977.

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